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A few years ago, singer-songwriter Meg Baird and harpist Mary Lattimore showed up at Three Lobed Records’ annual Hopscotch Festival day show for a gorgeously spectral collaborative set that left anyone either physically present or tuning in via the World Wide Web wanting more. Finally, the duo’s partnership has been made it to wax – and it was worth the wait. Ghost Forests (released by Three Lobed, natch) is a perfect blend of Baird and Lattimore’s distinctive styles, with the former’s haunting voice and Britfolk-inflected guitar complemented at every turn by the latter’s elegant harp and subtly adventurous electronics. The stately “In Cedars” is a standout, with Lattimore cascading gently behind Baird’s beautifully layered vocals – a wintry landscape of pure sound. “Painter of Tygers” features a hypnotic electric guitar line over a restless backdrop and oblique lyrics: “Your name is like a secret if you whisper just close enough.” And looking back to Baird’s early folkie days, the duo tackles the Child Ballad “Fair Annie,” delivering a magnetic, hypnotic version that feels almost shockingly vibrant and alive despite the song’s age. The lp is fleeting, clocking in at just about a half-hour. But Ghost Forests is as deep as they come. Let’s hope that it’s just the beginning of Baird and Lattimore’s musical journey together. words/ t wilcox

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